Sailing around the world in a boat engineered to fly

Virtual twins enabled concurrent engineering and high-fidelity simulations of MerConcept's trimaran design.
MerConcept designed its trimaran using virtual twins and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

SVR-Lazartigue is no ordinary sailing boat. The 30-meter long Ultim trimaran reaches incredible speeds to literally fly over the surface of the water. How? It’s the result of a mammoth engineering endeavor spearheaded by offshore racing specialist MerConcept, where the focus on aerodynamics is just as important as hydrodynamics.

Over two and a half years, experts from around the world came together to design and build the giant, flying trimaran, harnessing deep industry knowledge and the latest technological capabilities to push the boundaries of innovation. MerConcept used the design and simulation capabilities in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to develop SVR-Lazartigue from start to finish, creating a virtual twin to enable concurrent engineering and perform high-fidelity simulations to optimize the boat’s aerodynamics.

“With the foils we use today – which are the equivalent of an airplane’s wings – boats levitate above the water,” said Antoine Gautier, design office manager at MerConcept. “It’s like a flying carpet; it doesn’t make a sound.”

Within months of launching, skippers François Gabart and Tom Laperche successfully demonstrated SVR-Lazartigue’s massive potential, taking second place in their debut race, the grueling Transat Jacques Vabre.

Gabart, also founder of MerConcept, is now preparing for his solo round the world record campaign in 2023 before he takes on the crewed, non-stop, unassisted Jules Verne Trophy in 2024. His and the company’s ambitions reach beyond racing too. MerConcept has set up a new lab focused on developing concepts and protypes to demonstrate the potential of wind energy and foil propulsion in the wider marine industry.

“We want to enable a technological transfer from offshore racing and yachting to the transport of people and goods, moving towards sustainable mobility on the oceans,” Gabart said.

Backed by the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, MerConcept is not only pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in ocean racing but helping to reinvent the very concept of marine transport to preserve the planet and protect the oceans. To find out more, read the full story here.

Rebecca Lambert

Rebecca Lambert

Rebecca Lambert is a freelance journalist and copywriter based in Great Britain.